Cutting Thick Toenails: Causes & Home Remedies for Thick Nails

Toenails are often neglected and many of us do not pay much attention to them. Toenails are vital as they protect the tip of our toes, just as finger nails which protect the fingertips. There is a uniformity of thickness both in toenails and finger nails, though it may vary from one person to another. Over a period of time as we grow older, it is natural for the toenails to become slightly thick. However, toe nails can become thick at any age due to various reasons such as a nail injury or an infection.

Having thick toenails is a problem when you want to trim them. Sometimes it is painful and difficult to cut. Besides, there is always an associated risk of infection in the nail bed. Even if the toenails become thick, it is necessary to cut them from time to time. Here are some tricks and home measures for cutting thick toenails without much difficulty.

What Causes Thick Toenails?

Your toenails can become thick for various reasons. The basic mechanism for the nails to become thick is due to changes in the nail root, its plate and the nail bed.

The structural change can be permanent or temporary depending on the underlying pathology.

  • As you grow older, there are lots of changes in your body, including the toenails. They become slightly thick. Repeated minor injuries over a period of time may accumulate to make the nails thick. Also reduced blood flow to the nail bed can damage the nail structure and lead to its thickening.
  • Fungal infection in the nails is common and it is considered to be a major cause for thickening of toe nails. Bacterial infection due to ingrown toenails can also lead to thickened nails.
  • A direct trauma on the nail while walking or a heavy object falling on the nail can be cause for thickened toenails.
  • Toenails are also affected in various diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, eczema etc.

How To Soften Thick Toenails For Cutting?

Trimming thick and hard toenail is a difficult task. If the nails become soft before you trim, it is easier to cut them. Especially much care is needed when a person is suffering from diabetes or having poor circulation in the lower limbs or if he is on certain anti-coagulants.

  • To make the toenails soft, soak your feet in warm water for 10 minutes. If the water is soapy, it is more preferable.
  • Clean your feet and toes with a towel.
  • Your feet and nail should be completely dry before you cut your nails. However, avoid softening them too much to prevent nail bed injury while cutting.
  • Once the toenail becomes soft, use emery board or a file to smoothen the upper layer.

Choose a right tool to cut the thick toe nails. For cutting thick toenails, nail scissors may not work. Toenail clippers are useful to cut the thick nails. Cut from one side of the nail and cut it straight to the other side. Cutting the nail in straight line prevents the nail edge to burrow inside the skin and develop ingrown nail.

Depending on the thickness of the toenail, you may have to select the toenail clipper. If the nail is extremely thick you may require a heavy duty toenail clipper.

Home Remedies To Cure Thick Toenails

Most often toenails are damaged due to fungus infection. Addressing the underlying cause can reduce the severity of damage and thickening.

Vicks vaporub is found useful in treating toenail fungus. Apply it daily two times, once in morning and at night.

The other alternative is using diluted tea tree oil or vinegar over the affected toenail. Take few drops of tea tree oil in a glass of water and soak the affected toenail for 5 o 10 minutes. Rub and dry the area.

Do it regularly for few weeks to cure fungal infection of toenail.